tv International Programming CSPAN August 1, 2012 7:00am-7:30am EDT
philosophies of history moving inevitably in one direction or another but i think history has important functions including a moral function. the great roman historian thought that history had a moral function as well. not to relate every motion but for excellence. holed out preparation of prosperity, a certain sense in which remembering the wickedness of tyrants is the punishment that history can impose, that we should remember bad people for the bad things they did and also those people who stood up for justice and freedom and honor their memories. that is an important moral function of history. not just what happened but
drawing the moral lessons remembering those who are worthy of being remembered. a little bit of background. i am suspicious of grand philosophies of history and make a general remark about conditions i think a propitious for favorable to the emergence of liberty. the first is some pherae of the higher law. namely that the law isn't just whatever i can get away with or whatever i can impose on other people. it is not an expression of human will. it is very common in most stages or absolute notions of power that power -- that the law is an expression of will but in the classical liberal tradition some sense that there is a higher lot and there are two classical formulations of this. we can talk about them using
jerusalem, revealed religion, the idea that there is some higher power, expression of human power or wealth and that is articulated in a number of documents from the judeo tradition that is then received by christianity and islam and other religions, the notion that there is some higher path. that even the people of israel can be judge the buyout higher power and found wanting. if you think about the various books of the bible one of the famous stories is the story of moses. of which think about this in the context not merely as a theological a context but of a drama, he lead the people out of slavery and goes up to the mountain and has some interaction with god that
surpasses normal human understanding, some kind of receipt of a message from god. down below people are restless. where is moses? who brought us out of the land of egypt? what has become of him? they go to aaron and say make us god's. so he says gather your gold and jewelry and make a bold and cast and they danced before it and worship that and said these are your gods of israel who brought you out of the land of egypt and meanwhile at the mountain, moses and got are having some kind of exchange and god says this is a stiff necked people and what is going on? he says let me loan that my rant may burn hot against them and i shall completely destroy them
but of you i shall make a great nation so that terrible thing that this bowlen thing is god is justgolden thing is god is just a piece of bowl. daughters transce . daughters transcend into his own creation. whatgold . daughters transcend into his own creation. what. daughters transcend into his own creation. what makes this a unique story is moses argues with god which is not the first thing to come, they have an argument with god, and and not this time. if we think about it in dramatic terms a very powerful message has been put there but god is not just a part of the world,
golden statue. this has significance for politics because what is it so many rulers claim for themselves? they are god's. in this tradition that is one of the most horrible things a person could actually say. they say i am a god. there is one god that rules us. you are just another human being. as subject to that higher law. there are different formulations and different religious traditions and that idea of the higher law. actions which we associate with philosophy and law of wisdom and systematic investigation of the world to begin to try to look for regulation and behavior. out animals walk, how heavenly bodies move, what is the
regularity involved in that, people begin to say is there a pattern that we can begin to understand? think about astronomy for example. rationalized the appearances is the goal of astronomy. to show there's some regularity. the planets been the wanderers, the heavenly bodies that seem to zigzag around the sky. , as that possible? astronomers try to come up with models on epicycles and copernicus as we get the same appearances by displacing the earth from the center and putting the sun at the center. so we look for regularity in world and comprehend it. all so moral and political philosophy to look at how the
world works. a tradition of natural law. quite often, when you mention natural law, people think you are talking about religion. that is supernatural law. it is about the law of nature. i am puzzled why people associate natural law with religion. it not be understood that way. it may be compatible with religion, many important figures in the church fought that natural law had the truth and religion were run, they were compatible but natural law was not discovered by means of faith as such. it can be known by reason. aristotle talked-about nature of the human being. a human being was the creature
who talked. the rational animal as translated into latin and english and there are accidental features of human beings that are accidental whether one is for paler dark for example. accidental legally nonessential characteristic of the human being, and a statement for readers talk about the persians. if you know in the greek world view there are two creatures who look like us. biped if you will. there are greeks and barbarians. barbarian because they can't talk. if you go up to one of them and want to have a conversation can you direct me to the amphitheater or something like that they just say bar bar bar bar bar bar bar.
they can't talk so they're called barbarians. it is not uncommon. lots of languages have similar descriptions. if you are in austria and want to say someone was speaking rubbish, he was speaking check because to austrian it sounds like gibberish. they can't understand it. history does have some irony. in modern american in english if you say something makes no sense you say it is all greek to me. kind of cutting reason involved. he points out that fire does not burn one way in persia and another way in grease. fire is fire. we can investigate the nature of fire. there's not virgin fire and greek fire. there's ability of the cumin mind to understand how the world
works implying most of the human order as such. the most highly developed branch of the natural law is called economics. here are a couple principles we feel very confident in asserting. if you print a lot of money prices will go . if you impose price controls you will get shortages. those are cause and effect statements about the world grounded in science. not just opinions. if you abolish private property and land and abolish market for agricultural goods people will eat each other. we know that. it happened in the soviet union and ukraine and china during the great leap forward. forty-five million people died or killed during this short period of time.
the most horrific crimes in all of human history. that happens when you abolish private property -- people will eat each other. not merely an opinion. there are people who dispute that. there are more of them than you might think. distinguished philosophers and riders who argue there is one rule for this group but that doesn't apply to other groups. some of those in history who argued this. marxists fundamentally -- there's a bearish wall logic and the proletariat logic. different logic for different periods in human history. this is one of the reasons i never trust communists and that might seem trite. some countries there are. they happened to be the majority of parliament. i never trust them because they
don't believe in truth, the fundamental idea is absent. there is the truth that is useful to them and that is it. i tell my friends in the paul and elsewhere do not trust these people. if they get power, if you trust them with that power they will turn on you. and they will kill you at some point. the reason is that a deep level they don't even believe in the idea of truth. the national socialists, there was a jewish logic and area and logic. don't worry about that einstein guy. either jewish physics. we are doing aryan physics so different logic for different races or classes and so on and we hear echoes of this in some parts of american academia. extreme forms of gender studies that also argue something similar. women's logic and men's logic.
not that they're not differences between men and women. that is obvious but at some deep level there are logical differences between the genders. i don't buy that. i think there is one watch it for the universe and not one each one for different gender or nation or language and so on. so if we see that law can be religiously grounded or understood by human reason and it is not just a matter of will or desire or fantasy is how the world works ultimately we can block up against reality and then related to that things about human law, appreciation can be discovered as well as made. that is very significant.
the lot is discovered. discovering the law, not merely in vending and imposing it. those who believe law is exclusively imposed typically follow jon austin and his theory what is positive and handed down. the definition of a law is a command of a superior with power to enforce obedience. that is what what is. typical definition you would get. it follows that the one who makes the law. who gives the command isn't subject to it. can change commands when they want to. that is a legal theory compatible with absolute, the idea the sovereign state is above the law but the classical liberal tradition sees the state has some things that must be
brought under the law. if the law can be discovered, not merely imposed it would also be binding on the discoverer. sir isaac newton discovers predictable pattern in the physical world that two objects are inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them which is the first was that will suffice to generate the elliptical orbits that have been described by previous astronomers. it doesn't follow that he is exempt from it. he is not attracted -- conflict above the year attracted to other bodies and interesting eccentric orbit just for him if you were to shoot him into space and so on. the same law applies to him. the fact that he discovered it
does not exempt them from it. similarly if we see the law as something that is discovered and the law institutions themselves that discovered it or enforce it a subject to it. very important conceptual difference so the definition of the law given by a lawn fuller, more consistent with the liberal tradition and our commitment to classical liberal tradition or commitment to individual freedom, the rule of law, personal dignity and so on but captures the experience of the law as we see it in the world. lot is the enterprise of subjected human conduct to the governance of rules. very little or nothing to do with the state. laws that govern how neighbors treat one another and all kinds of expectations people create among themselves. could be described as the law.
what is not the exclusive preserve of the state. a multitude of different bodies and institutions that generate what. ebay has its own legal system to adjudicate disputes. if you go on ebay and there is a procedure to adjudicate, a disagreement on quality of the merchandise, credit card companies have institutions that generate all kinds of mechanisms for adjudicating disputes and generating law. contracts where people make contracts they go and negotiate complicated interests. not just the template from the state but making the law and the process of doing that. they are discovering and generating a lot and also subject to it. they are not somehow above it. those are two conditions that
are propitious, somehow present in the culture, more likely to get a political system of liberty. the relationship between blog and freedom is significant and this notion of the rule of law as part of the libertarian understanding of what it means to be a free person in a free society, john locke put it so eloquently in the second treaty this end of what is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and and large freedom. where there is no law there is no freedom. he focuses on being free means not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another but freely follow his own. to be subject to the same law to which everyone else is subject is part of being a free person as opposed to other traditions calling themselves freedom.
we identified them -- freedom is somehow just a condition of personal spontaneity. doing anything you want. sometimes things that may shock people and may be harmful to other people. that is being free. whatever you want to do. that is not the experience of freedom. a free person, a free society is also respectful of other people. doesn't take of the people's things or hit other people or defraud them or lie to them or cheat them. that is part of a free society. all of us are subject the same set of restraints and being subject to equal restraints is how we can enjoy our equal freedom. freedom is not a lack of restraint or ability to burn down anyone's house any time you want. not what it means to be a free person. this notion of property, persons and actions and possession and to hold property is very important. this is a term that has changed
its meaning in english as he put it with regard to property you have the power to preserve the property, wife, and the estate. thinking about how english has >> since john locke's time and james madison. they would not have said for a variety of reasons this iphone is my property. but also the phrase would have been nonsensical. doesn't make sense. property is a right. how could i call b iphone a right. they would say i have a property in this iphone. i have the property to call people on it, to set it down, use it as a bookmark, rent it to other people or give it to someone else or abandon it.
property in the phone. the phone is an object. property is a right. this is important for a variety of reasons. the first one that we can mention bring about greater clarity and discussion of wall. this land is my property as we do in contemporary english it is not clear what my rights are. i might have sold subsurface mineral rights to another person. my neighbor may have an easement to drive her automobile across a portion of it to get to the road or have access to the river. could be the neighborhood association has the right of veto. couldn't paint my house shocking pink because i have a binding covenant with other members of my neighborhood association or to put some gigantic warble ugly statue in my front yard. doesn't mean it isn't my property. we would say i have a property in this land. i can live in it and do all
these things but some other people have other property in the land like the right to determine the height of the building. one of the important features to understand the value of property in the rocky mountains is your view of the mountains determine the value of your property. how do people deal with that? you by piece of land. i will bought one next to you and put up a gigantic skyscraper you can see the mountains anymore. your property will fall in value. people deal with this in advance. there are restrictive covenants that say i can't build such a tall building unless i get your permission and you might say you have my permission but it will cost $240,000. i will give you 200, that is the most i can afford that we don't have a deal but if it is worth $600,000 to me and i can do it for $240,000 we can make a deal. we can voluntarily sort this out. that is the first point.
the older of language was more adequate for understanding property relations. the second philosophical question is property extends to much more than things or objects. not focusing on my life, my freedom and my estate. this is the state. now we have shrunk down property just to be this stage but it means life. delivery and is state. sometimes we run into a marxist or leftist critics who say all you favors prop.. you favor property rights, not human rights. as if the property had rights. a puzzling idea but the point is favoring property means you favor human-rights. humans have the rights to their life, liberty and their stuff. their estate. that notion of property is of much wider significance and
greater moral richness. the question of how to attain liberty is fundamentally one about how to limit power. there are different ways to do this. the first that should come to mind particularly for americans steeped in american constitutional history is the idea of offsetting powers, checks and balances. let's start that story in the ancient world with one of the most interesting poems, the epic of gilgamesh. this is an image of bill the match coming into town riding on the back of two griffins and you can see where he has in each hand by the tail is a lion. this is a fairly blunt propaganda instrument that indicates he is a tough guy. a very powerful person. he can hold two lions by the
tail. i couldn't do that to my house cat. imagine it with a gigantic lion. of very powerful man. powerful super but knowledgeable experts. gilgamesh would not leave the young girls alone. this is not unusual for holders of executive authority. before they had white house intern's or what ever, fundamentally similar process and the gods often heard their complaints. let's be more blunt about it. he had the power because he is a powerful figure. he is a great king, to sleep with the young bride on the night of their wedding. because this is an adult audience we understand he didn't really sleep with them in the sense of saying i am sleepy let's fall asleep now. he raped these young women.
that was his authority as the king. he gets to break these young women. he gets to have sex with them which powerful kings like and also to humiliate the rest of the society. humiliate these women and humiliate their husbands on the night of the wedding. this is an exercise of this power he has over other people. the people complain about it and they pray to the gods and one of the gods creates an artificial man. and interesting story. he gathers up some way and tufts of grass and fashion this this artificial man, a godlike gilgamesh an equal magic was found and blocked his access at the door of his father-in-law's house and would not allow gilgamesh to enter. so they fight. neither one can overcome the other. they leave the city.
it is the first story i am aware of in any tradition, the story of checks and balances. being subject to the unlimited power of another person is unbearable. the only thing you can do is to create another power to control it. merely complaining isn't enough. there has to be some kind of power that can control that power. the story is an interesting one. they become friends and have many adventures and those on. but when gilgamesh returns to the city he finds that in the absence of the king walls have grown taller and the city is more prosperous and there's a subtle story there about the king was not the necessary condition for the prosperity of the city. the next major story and i will
skip lightly over some of the more interesting phases in human history, from the city of lawbosh, in the country of iraq and is the story of a reformer who led a great tax revolt and established freedom of the city's, freed the market and eliminated monopolies that had been imposed on the markets, eliminated taxes and establish respect for the property of every one whether rich or 4. from the account of this which we have from a french archaeologist who discovered -- tells the story, is the first written expression of liberty. this word written in cuneiform. very interesting work. it means in the context, freedom. this particular one is freedom
from taxes. the cuneiform expression of taxation is particularly delicious. looks like a giant harpoon. i actually went to the department of sir numerology in budapest 20 years ago because i had a tattoo made of that and i thought i'd better check to be really sure before i get a tattoo and the professor said it means liberty in a very robust understanding of that meeting. personal freedom. being a free human being. it is from two roots. means return to the mother. interesting question and people speculate why that would mean liberty. one of fee is it was a matrilineal society. if you have become enslaved to another person, when you were